Because “imagine everyone's naked” is terrible advice

Improving a Talk

That wasn’t too bad. You’re all done with your talk and everything went great! Or they went terrible and no one likes you, but you are somewhat reasonable about it and maintain that you will improve next time!

If you enjoyed giving a talk, chances are that you might want to give that same talk again sometime. There are a lot of conferences out there, it’s normal to repeat the same talk a couple of different times to different audiences.

There’s no reason you can’t improve the talk, though. Next time could be even better! Or at least, less horrible!

Pay attention

The biggest thing you should do is pay attention during your talk. Are people not listening to you? Are they on their laptops or phones? Do they seem like they’re a little tuned out? Those are good signs that you may want to improve that section of the talk. Either go slower if it’s a little too complicated, or make it more interesting if it’s a little too boring, or drop the entire section if it’s just not that interesting. Sometimes you have to give a talk a couple of times before you can make a final value judgement.

The number one thing you should pay attention to is the Q&A session of your talk, if you have one. What are people asking you about? That’s a huge sign that they’re either really interested in that portion of your talk or they’re really confused about it still. It could also mean you did a poor job at arguing that aspect and they still don’t quite believe you, which means that’s a great place to start reworking and improving to clarify your point better. If you don’t have any official Q&A, ask people in the hallways and at any meetups later that night. It’s also a more informal environment, so people will go into their thoughts a bit more than they would in front of an entire room of people.